Reading aloud can be a frightening prospect for many people. There are different reasons people are scared to read aloud, one is reading aloud in front of others. Given practice and nerves of steel, these types of people can move past their fear by continuously reading out loud, whether to themselves or others.
Others are scared for a completely different but an equally frightening reason, such as dyslexia. Although it can be a scary disorder, it is also a very real thing. It is said that dyslexia is often associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly known by its acronym, ADHD. This makes reading for the dyslexic person feel like a chore and can scare them away from reading aloud. According to “Beating Dyslexia,” there is hope for those affected by the disorder via reading aloud on a regular basis.
Alexia, which is the opposite of dyslexia, is a disorder in which someone who was able to read has lost their ability to do so. This can be an even more scary proposition given the fact that they once knew the words on the page, and they know they did but can no longer read them. Reading aloud can strengthen the reader’s comprehension and ability to retain the information read. Thus, helping the dyslexic, or the person with Alexia, overcome their fears of reading on all platforms.
Rebecca Bellingham, a teacher, says in a speech on “TED” talks, “Young children who are read to from a teacher or parent become more active with the story being told. It allows them to not fear the ‘decoding’ of words for themselves.” She read an entry from “Charlotte’s Web”and her style is a big on-screen personality, who reads with meaning to the audience. She states that she had a student come up to her after one of her stories and said, “I felt like I was there like I could really see the pig. I never got inside a book like that before.”
The power of words, whether they come from a book or someone speaking to them in conversation, is resounding. If given the chance to unlock the ‘code,’ as Rebecca Bellingham calls words on a page, little minds can give kids a special kind of access to the transformative power of a story. “Decoding words can be easy for some,” she says, “but for others, decoding words isn’t easy.” Children who are read to are the ones who benefit most from reading aloud.
Learning words and how to use them correctly in a different language is a hard thing to do. Many people set out to learn a different language only to end up frustrated with the process and give up. Akshay Swaminathan stated, “It is easier to learn a phonetic alphabet language because they are nearly identical to the way they are written.” English is not a phonetic language, and therefore, it is a harder language to learn.
Reading aloud, for English-speaking people, would seem to prove harder due to words in the language that sound the same but are spelled differently. Moreover, there is often more difficulty with words that are spelled completely different from how they sound. It seems unfair almost, for children of English-speaking origin, to be expected to read aloud in a language that is so hard to speak and learn. It is scary for most adults to read aloud, never mind the anxiety for children or people with a reading disorder.
Opinion and Blog by Tracy Blake
Edited by Leigh Haugh
The University of Massachusetts, Amherst: Revising by Reading Aloud. What the Mouth
and Ear Know
TED Talks: Rebecca Bellingham
Beating Dyslexia: Reading Aloud
YouTube: Akshay Swaminathan
Adobe Acrobat: Read Out Loud Feature
Image Courtesy of barbaragaillewis’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License